Tuesday, September 18, 2007


There are a few things you need to tuck into your gardening mind about shrubs in the early fall. Shrubs are a pretty hardy bunch, so they'll keep trying to put out new growth. At this time of year, you should be helping them pull up the covers and prepare for a long winters nap! How can you do that?
Begin by NOT doing any more pruning of those shrubs. When shrubs are pruned, they attempt to put out new growth to make up for that which has been lost! If it's cold enough that won't be a problem. But, if we get a few warm days in a row..whoosh...out come the new little shoots. Then the cold returns and zaps the little shoots. Those dead shoots will sit there all winter and invite disease and insects. Help your shrubs by NOT pruning them until it's cold enough that you know no warm stretches will follow. (This is part of the reason pruning is done right after flowering, or when it's consistently warm.)
The same thing applies to fertilizing. If you fertilize too early in the fall, the plant will try to put out newly invigorated growth. Again, wait until you know it's too late for the shrub to generate new little shoots. AND, if you do that, the fertilizer will go down to the roots where it will help them strengthen and prepare for spring.
Another thought is to stop picking roses for the table. A rose bush will start to harden off when the hips appear. So let your roses form hips and they will probably do better through the winter!


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